Whispers in the Mist (A County Clare Mystery) by Lisa Alber
Description: There's a whisper in the mists in Lefenora, Ireland, a strange fog has rolled off the Atlantic. Along with the fog comes tales of Grey Man, a predatory faery of local lore who snatches innocent souls into his deadly gloom. And with the mists come murder. When a teenage boy dies in Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern's arms, Danny finds himself pursing his own grey man, a killer who becomes more elusive the closer Danny gets to the truth. A mute woman may be the key to solving the murder and helping Danny heal his own broken life, but first she must unlock the memories from her past. Part psychological suspense, part mystery, Lisa Abler's haunting tale of family secrets and broken love won't let you go until the final twist. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: Mysteries, Irish setting, family secrets, plus a good dose of psychological suspense. And then that cover! How could I resist this one?
My Impression: I didn't realize this was the 2nd book in the series when I picked this one up. While I think it might have helped to have read the first book going in so I could understand exactly what everyone's problem with Merritt is and just why Liam being a matchmaker is so important. However, since neither of those really had much to do with the mystery itself I don't think not having read the first book affected my enjoyment either way.
This is more of ensemble cast than most mysteries. We do see a lot of Danny Ahern, the Detective Sergeant who is in charge of a murder investigation but we also see from the POV of his estranged wife Ellen, town outcast Merritt, pub owner Alan, and Gemma, a mysterious young woman whose words seem stuck in her mind by a post trauma. At first it was a little difficult to keep track of everyone - especially Danny and Alan - but it didn't take long before their personalities became clearly distinct and that problem disappeared. I also liked that while the narration itself did some head hopping the story continued to progress so the primary mystery never feels like it is put on hold. I enjoyed getting to know the characters themselves. They all had flaws and drama but it didn't seem like it went to much to dark and angst and instead going for a more realistic (and more readable) weighted down feeling. The constant fog adds to a weighted down and claustrophobic feeling which added atmosphere but never felt too heavy.
The mystery itself is more classic mystery than the thriller I expected from the cover. Who murdered the teenager and how does it relate to the mysterious brother and sister who have appeared in town? The mystery unravels slowly and with each page I felt like I knew just a little bit more and felt a little more connected to the residents of Lefenora. While I didn't feel like this was the most compelling read - not that it was a slow read it just wasn't one that pulled me in and had me reading hours past my bedtime - it was a good read. Not only was the mystery interesting but it also had very real feeling characters and a gorgeous if spooky at times setting.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely! I'd like to go back and read the first one in this series and will be looking for the next one.
Would I Recommend this Book?: I would. I think most mystery readers would like this one. It's dark enough for those who enjoy regular mysteries but not gore-y or overly violent for cozy lovers.